NBA: Rudy Gobert crowned best defender of the year

The French are celebrating in the NBA

NBA: Rudy Gobert crowned best defender of the year

The French are celebrating in the NBA. After Victor Wembanyama, who received the title of “rookie” of the year (best beginner) on Monday May 6, it is the turn of Rudy Gobert to be rewarded. The Minnesota Timberwolves pivot was named “best defender of the year” for the fourth time, the American basketball league announced Tuesday.

Aged 31, Gobert receives the award for the fourth time after 2018, 2019 and 2021, but for the first with the jersey of Minnesota, which he joined in 2022 from the Utah Jazz.

Gobert thus equals the absolute record of four titles for best defensive player of the year won by Ben Wallace of Detroit (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and Dikembe Mutombo (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001) with Denver, Atlanta and Philadelphia .

The French giant (2.16m) received 72 votes from a panel of media members to claim his fourth best defender title in seven years, far ahead of his compatriot Victor Wembanyama, second with 19 votes.

Gobert averaged 14 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 assists per game this season with the Timberwolves.

Successful with the Minnesota Timberwolves

“Rudy has been the driving force behind the defensive culture here,” said Timberwolves coach Chris Finch. “It’s a testament to his impact, his presence and what he instilled in the team about the importance of defense and how great it can be when we implement it. » Gobert is a key element of the Wolves' iron defense, the best in the NBA this season.

After finishing in 3rd place in the Western Conference at the end of the regular season, Minnesota impressed during the play-offs. Victorious over Phoenix in the first round (4-0), the Wolves lead 2-0 against defending champion Denver, after two successes in Colorado.

Minnesota pulled off a breathtaking defensive performance on Monday (106-80 victory) without Rudy Gobert, absent so he could be at the side of his girlfriend who gave birth to their son on Monday, according to several media. “His name is Romeo and he’s doing great,” Gobert said on TNT. “Many blessings. I am truly grateful. »

Olympic vice-champion in 2021 in Tokyo, Gobert is a member of the French team which is aiming for gold at the Paris Olympic Games (July 26 - August 11).